By Phil Hecken
It isn’t often when a ticker submission turns into a lede — but that’s what happened yesterday, when Eric Wright sent in this photo, which was posted in the slideshow linked in Paul’s main article yesterday.
Eric’s original comment in his submission read, in part:
Take a look at this shot from the slide show you linked to in today’s piece. The stripes on the shorts. Towards the back of the shorts, in between the purple and teal that 3rd stripe sure looks an AWFUL lot like Carolina blue to me.
He went on to add that the anomalous color might be a “nod to MJ, the jordan brand, and the fact that the team plays in Carolina.” Calling it “unique to a point, but a bit out of place in the color scheme/palatte (sic),” he followed up the submission with some more photographs.
Since this was an angle that seemed not to have been covered in the various reviews of the Hornets new uniforms, I asked Eric if he was interested in expanding upon this. He did. And he has done an outstanding job. Click on any photograph below to enlarge.
So, let me turn the remainder of this post over to him now, as he begins …
Decoding Some Other Elements of the Hornets New Uniform
By Eric Wright
Yesterday’s Charlotte Hornets uniform unveiling was big news for uniform aficionados, including this blog, for a variety of reasons: return to the teal and purple, the moving of the NBA logo to the back (potentially to usher in the “ads on NBA uniforms era,” or the dark ages of the NBA as they will be known should that actually happen), but there were a couple other details that went relatively unnoticed with all the hype.
The first pictures I saw were of the front of all three of the new uniforms, and a picture of the back of Al Jefferson’s jersey (which immediately struck me as odd and off-putting since the colors of the number and last name were different). In my opinion the colors of numbers/last names should always match, AND, if the number is outlined, so should the last name, which the old Hornets uniforms did quite nicely.
But those initial pictures didn’t show the full details, especially the “pin-stripes” down the side panel. Upon seeing those, I IMMEDIATELY was struck by something that got very little attention, but to me stuck out very prominently, and that was the light blue stripe towards the back of the leg, in between the purple and teal. Consider my curiosity piqued. Why was it there?
My first reaction was that it was there because Michael Jordan is the controlling owner of the team (having first become an investor in the team in 2006, then buying out Robert Johson’s controlling stake in the team for $175 million in 2010, and most recently increasing his ownership from 80% to 89.5% to join the billionaires club), and due to his legendary collegiate status as one of the most famous alumni from UNC-Chapel Hill. The light blue obviously being an ode to the Tar Heels. Thus began my quest to find out more.
Initial searches led me to learn that light blue is actually an official secondary color of the Hornets, along with “cool” gray and black. Ok, that’s cool. It doesn’t really go with the purple and teal, but that’s their prerogative.
So was this something that was done because of MJ? Perhaps there other reasons like the Dodgers adding the red numbers to the front of their uniforms as previously documented on this site, or like the 1966 Falcons, who wore red helmets with a black falcon crest logo and the following striping pattern down the middle: a center black stripe surrounded by 2 gold stripes and 2 white stripes, which represented the two college rival schools in Georgia: the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (White and Gold) and the University of Georgia Bulldogs (Red and Black).
Further investigation led to some interesting discoveries. Such as the fact that light blue has ALWAYS been a part of the Charlotte Hornets uniform. As you can see in some of the following pictures, light blue (along with green for some reason) was represented in the pinstriping on the jerseys.
So we see that light blue has a link to the past. Another element of the new uniform striping is that gray has been added to the striping detail (on the purple and teal shorts, next to the light blue stripe, perhaps replacing the green from the original Hornets). It’s easier to spot on the purple shorts, as the contrast is better, but I think in these photos you can also detect the gray on the teal shorts as well (look at how the stripe color is a little bit darker than the white of the hornet logo).
Finally, after all this research I had to find out from the team was it the historical linkage or an homage to MJ that led the team to add light blue to the uniform and team colors.
I spoke with a team official who said, “With regards to the light blue, it is actually part of our expanded color palette as part of our accent colors. We added black, cool gray and light blue to the purple and teal. In this case it also pays homage to the original Hornets uniform.” When pressed further about any correlation or coincidence with regards to Jordan, he said, “We recognize light blue as being a color known and very popular to the Carolinas.”
And that was probably part of the thinking of the original Hornets uniform as well. So there you have it – the new Charlotte Hornets uniform nuances decoded. Can’t wait to see them on the court (ad-free of course!!!) #NoUniAds
Thanks, Eric! Terrific job “decoding” the Hornets. Glad you submitted to the ticker yesterday morning — it turned out to be quite an adventure!
Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.
Just one today, again from colorizer-extraordinaire George Chilvers, who as always, has turned in phenomenal work. Click on image to enlarge.
Just one picture this week, but one I really quite enjoyed doing. It’s always good to have a nice clear picture.
It dates from the 1930s, and is a sports team from a UK police force. But what sport?
Answer at some time through the day when posted.
Thanks George. Great colorizations, as always. OK, colorizers — love for you guys to have your latest work featured on here. Keep ’em coming!
Uni Watch News Ticker:
Baseball News: Awesome or awful? The San Rafael Pacifics are donning uniforms based on those worn in the All American Girls Professional Baseball League to honor breast-cancer survivors. They’ll wear those on June 27th. More info here. … Check out this beautiful color photo of Jackie Robinson in Ebbets Field (not sure if that’s colorized or not). Photo via @UniformCritic. … The Nashville Sounds have unveiled the first “guitar video board” design (thanks to Nick Schiavo). … Mike Trout has become the first MLB player since Ken Griffey, Jr. to get his own Nike shoe. (Jeter, according to the Sporting News, was Jordan Brand, so that technically doesn’t count). … “Tiger Stadium lives!” writes Dave Murray. “Sort of. The City of Detroit has long left the gates open on the field that used to be Tiger Stadium. But now folks are regularly using the field. It’s got a backstop and benches, with a new home plate and pitching rubber. Also cool – it apparently lives on in the world of GPS devices. Check out the field on my Tom Tom.” … MLB historian John Thorn posted this beautiful image on Twitter with the question, “Can you identify the on-deck hitter.” I could actually tell from the silhouette, but the hint is “1957 World Series.” Everyone but Chance Michaels is eligible to play. … The left-field ball boy at yesterday’s Pirates vs. Cubs game was missing the “C” on his helmet (h/t Jeffrey Seals). … At last night’s Round Rocks Express game in Texas, every player wore pinstriped jerseys with GEHRIG NOB (good spot by Klay Kuban). … Some trivia: Check out this July 1966 Wilson ad which says 14 of 20 MLB teams wear Wilson unis. John Fonte asks what are the other six? I don’t know for sure, but I guessed MacGregor, Sand Knit, Rawlings, and/or McAuliffe. Anyone have any ideas? Later tweets confirmed McAuliffe for the Dodgers and MacGregor for the Redlegs. … Josh Claywell was watching one of Indiana’s prep baseball title games (Noblesville and Terre Haute Vigo North. “Noblesville wore a black alt with some weird shoulder stripes. Made me think of the neck roll in the NFL. Vigo North’s uni isn’t bad, but the cap is. It’s a tri-colored panel cap, with blue in front, one splotch of red and then white on the back. The hell is that?” … Whoopsie: During last night’s Orioles vs. Yankees, the Baltimore pitching coach was wearing the road black hat with the Oriole logo — but all Baltimore players were wearing the road black hat with “O’s” (great spot by Robyn Adams). … Carlos Ruiz was still wearing a helmet with the throwback “P” last night against the Cardinals. Says submitter Gary Dieter, “Maybe he prefers that ‘P’ like I do.” … More beautiful ads: “Today’s Greatest Young Slugger” Original ’37 magazine ad that Frank McGuigan’s grandfather saved. Beautiful!
NFL News: During a 1981 Wild Card Playoff game between the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, Fred Smerlas suffered a pretty severe rip in his jersey (screen grab via Matt Barnett). … On Thursday, the Seattle Seahawks revealed their Super Bowl rings, which are framed by 12 gemstones and engraved with final score on inside. … NOCSAE (The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) has announced new concussion guidelines for helmet makers (thanks Paul).
NBA & College Hoops News: Reader Jon Arthur was looking at some old Sports Illustrated’s and noticed something on Kentucky’s white pant leg (3 quarters down left leg). “You can see it on Antoine Walker’s shorts and Mark pope white uniforms, but not on the denim uniforms – I’m a huge CATS fan, but have no idea what these little patches are for. Antoine Walker appears to have 8 while Mark Pope only has 2. Any ideas???” Anyone? … The ink on the new Hornets’ unis isn’t even dry but already there are tweaks adding in pinstripes. Personally I’m not a fan of them — but many would have loved to have those brought back.
Hockey News: No. 7 of Howie Morenz was first Montreal Canadiens number retired after his tragic 1937 death — check out this neat collection of memorabilia (pic by Dave Stubbs, found by Sully). … If your lifelong goal is to become a marry a hockey player, then you probably don’t want to marry a Red Wing. … Joe Moore just got his Kings Championship hat in the mail and “it looks like the crown logo is a bit off center. For what they charge for merch now you think they could at least make sure it’s of better quality.”
Soccer News: Technology or BS? Apparently there is some impressive technology behind the US soccer jerseys for the World Cup (the Nike geniuses analyzed data and concluded “air flow was a key factor regulating temperature so the team introduced laser-cut ventilation holes into the left and right sides of the jersey and a new weave of cotton and polyester”). … There is now a new crest for Hull City (nice find by Conrad Burry). … There is a German 1934 World Cup football shirt with a swastika featured in a historical exhibit at the World Cup. More here. While Nazism was clearly a repugnant chapter in world history, this is a historical jersey, worn during competition — so as an historical artifact, I believe it deserves to be shown as part of the exhibit. What say you guys? … Here’s a pretty neat visual guide to what every World Cup champ wore (thanks to Tim E. O’Brien). … “Who is this person. The Uni community must find out,” writes Colin. “TWO items of AL West gear in a game between Spain and Chile, that took place in Brazil. I have so many questions!” … Here’s a neat World Cup Roundup from yesterday — if you like that, their Twitter account is @32flags.
Grab Bag: Check out the fake Devil, Rangers, and Yankees jerseys in this SNY commercial (good spot by Chris Flinn). What’s worse than the fake jerseys is the fake Boston accent, however. … Bishop McGuinness High School in Oklahoma City, OK, has an ‘interesting’ mascot according to Paul Deaver, who writes, “I live here but did not grow up here and, though I knew they were the Fighting Irish, I did not know about their mascot, ‘Clancy, until I stumbled across this looking for something else related to the school. … Peter Branch tweeted at me “Nevada looks to have added the blue wolf on the helmet instead of last year’s gray ones.” … And, how fitting that this New Era ‘MERICA cap has an apostrophe catastrophe?
And that’s going to do it for today — big thanks (again) to Eric for his great spot, which led to today’s lede, George for another great colorization (and don’t forget to guess the sport) and all the submitters for their ticker contributions.
Paul takes off today for a well-deserved vacation (enjoy it buddy!) with
Heather the New Girl, so I’ll be handling things for the next week. I’ll be back tomorrow with the usual Sunday column, and Paul’s lined up a whole host of good stuff for next week, so we won’t miss a beat.
Happy First Day of Summer!
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHecken.
“Phil, can you let us know when Paul’s gone so we can bring in the coke and hookers?”